Well, of course with correspondence or the rare conversation, how this consecrated Catholic hermit approaches, shares, and advises (if others request or ask) depends upon the spiritual level of the person wanting conversation or correspondence.
I simply do not speak only of spiritual with an atheist, for example. In fact, an agnostic friend emails of activities and inquires of progress here. This friend who lives far away and engages in typical activities that are all well and good, knows of my vocation, my physical pain, and has been a friend for a few decades.
However, there is a sharing of ideas, tips, and bits of daily experiences. This friend asks for advice at times, such as how to strip wallpaper and decor ideas; or also in the past requested input utilizing my mystical gifts. I helped sort out (sensed into the intentions of) a real estate agent who was not going to be good; and I helped through prayer and blessed item with the sale of home so the friend could simply sell by-owner. Praise God! When a partner was dying of cancer, it was this friend who asked me to come be close in on the situation, for support and assistance with the dying process.
So it just depends. Some family members who are Christians but not Catholic, I converse with differently than with those who seek input from me who are Catholic. The traditions are different; it would not do to recommend aspects of which they fear, have negative bias, or simply do not understand.
But with those who are well on the spiritual path, I cannot get too involved with advice which deals heavily with the temporal decisions that we all make in our daily lives. I admit that sometimes I have asked others for advice or suggestions--feedback or to consult over a major decision, one that is life impacting, relational, or requiring major change.
If a young person, for example, who has never purchased a vehicle, I would readily give advice if asked. But for those more advanced in the spiritual life with whom the friendship is mostly on spiritual matters, a consecrated Catholic hermit really has no business spending time going over temporal details that are repeat experiences.
When the situation involves health issues, then this hermit's heart opens to repeated discussion. It is good to soothe, encourage, and "mirror" the other person's concerns, to be supportive in whatever the person needs to discuss relative to upcoming medical tests or procedures or end-of-life decisions.
Or to discuss parenting trends and skills--there may not be other than the spiritual aspect of offering to pray. The rest may be listening to aspects of behavior, or how the parent has tried to deal with the problem, whether or not it was successful, and then to generate ideas of some other behavioral modification to try. Or, the conversation or correspondence might include the reminder to keep a sense of humor.
In all conversations and correspondence, I include promises to pray for the person and situation, no matter what. Yes, I have prayed for the person wanting advice on vehicle purchases, although the prayer was not for the purchase. Rather, it was that we realize our spiritual priorities, and what we can handle simply, easily in daily life compared to what it is our thoughts and words would be better spent thinking and discussing.
It takes discernment and practice, and much prayer, on my part. I must learn, myself, more and more to think as God thinks--and to "learn" that is mostly praying for the grace of His Mind replacing my thoughts. In confession prior to Mass this evening, the priest reminded me that the devil often is behind the thoughts we have, particularly thoughts that are errant, discouraging, or superficial--that which distract and waste time and energy.
For a consecrated Catholic hermit, conversation and correspondence is a two-way proposition. I, too, must discern the quality of my words--verbal and written. How often have I veered from the level of the spiritual to enter into lengthy diatribes of some very temporal matter that is not worth a minute of repeating, complaining about, or even giving it thought. So I do have quite a way to go in this aspect of conversing and corresponding.
May His Real Presence and the many people who I've engaged their time and energy in details of temporal, daily life and the various problems therein that we can experience without much difficulty--maybe they all forgive me for not progressing more, myself, in sifting out the unnecessary.
Ah, Mass was exquisite again this evening! It is as if a burden has been lifted, between the altar and the confessional--His Living Word, the Eucharist, Reconciliation. Healing! I am ready to increase the work mode here as well as to increase the spiritual reading again.
Today a woman stopped by the roadside table and saw me out, sanding some ceiling boards. Beckoning me, she asked about the various vegetables and fruit. I noticed her cross necklace and the Holy Face medal. We had a lovely discussion. The Lord blessed the elevation of mundane to special with just a few thoughts, easily mentioned. Even produce can produce spiritual conversation, and always there is the silent praying before, during, and after any encounter, verbal, written, or non-verbal.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Let us love one another, little children, as Jesus loves us; and let us keep our thoughts on things of God, not so much on things below (below our capabilities, below our spiritual level, below our step on the stairway to heaven).